In spring, we were asked to develop a Facebook game prototype to help promote Ancestry.com’s new site Mundia.
Like Ancestry.com, Mundia is a site where you can build your family tree and research your family history. Our challenge was to come up with a game design that would be fun and engaging and at the same time incorporate the family tree metaphor.
Our client was looking for a Farmville-style mechanic with virtual goods, so we built a game where you can tend to your crops in the garden and decorate while growing your family tree by adding family members.
When the family tree reaches a certain level, you build a tree house. At this point, most of the gameplay moves into the tree house – using your family members and energy points, you play games and cook dishes, which gives you experience and energy points.
Using the energy points, you can look under mushrooms growing outside in the garden. Mushrooms usually hide cash, fruit or items that you can use to complete collections.
We had to complete the working prototype in two months, which included designing the gameplay, building the engine, the backend, producing the art (with all the decoration items and character customization, we ended up with a LOT of assets), sound effects, music and testing and balancing it before launch.
In the end, we had a pretty successful launch and crunched a lot of numbers to tweak the final design. Some players reached impressive levels and we saw a lot of nice decorated tree houses.